HL Deb 11 February 1998 vol 585 c201WA
Lord Mason of Barnsley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to reform the law on non-fatal offences against the person. [HL592]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn):

Last July my right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced the Government's decision to accept the principle of the Law Commission's proposals for reform of those offences mainly contained in the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861.

We have today issued a consultation document containing the Government's proposals on how the law might be reformed, together with a draft Bill. Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Library. This is an important document demonstrating the Government's commitment to modernising and improving the law, and to genuine consultation on specific, considered proposals.

Our proposals are largely based on those contained in the Law Commission's Report No. 218 Offences Against the Person and General Principles, but they are not identical to those of the Law Commission. The law has developed since the Law Commission first published its report and on some issues we have taken the opportunity to review the law further, while on others we have taken a somewhat different view from that of the Law Commission.

There are important and difficult issues set out in the consultation document. We are not seeking to introduce new offences but to clarify and rationalise the existing law. We urge all those concerned about this issue to read this paper and respond to it.